Chapter Twenty-Five: Caged Fox:

“Asato-kun?” a woman’s voice asked on the phone. Tsuzuki paused.

“Anna-chan? Usagi? Is that you? Hello? Hello?” he asked.

“Baby?” the woman’s voice asked. “Asato-kun, I need help.” His eyes shifted back and forth.

“Where are you?” he asked. “Are you really Anna-chan?” Static came through at first.

“Anna-chan?” Tsuzuki asked. “Are you still here? Speak to me! Where are you?”

“I’m at the castle in the middle of the maze,” the woman said. “Please hurry!” The line went dead.

“Usagi? Usagi? Hello?” Tsuzuki asked. The shinigami looked at his phone. His stomach dropped as he stared at the screen.

“What happened to you, Usagi?” he asked.


Haruka smirked to herself as she hung up Anna’s phone.

“That was easy,” she said to herself. The old woman turned and looked behind her. Anna sat on the sofa glaring at her.

“Aw, why so angry?” Haruka asked. Her granddaughter glared with her mouth fixed shut. The old lady smirked.

“Hm,” she said. “We should lighten up the mood. Get us some tea, will you?” Haruka lifted up two fingers. Anna rose to her feet. Her cold expressions didn’t change. She couldn’t speak. Angry words formed in her head instead. Anna walked up to the heated kettle. Haruka looked over her shoulder. She moved both of her hands. Her granddaughter picked up the kettle and poured green tea into two cups.

“No sugar fo me,” Haruka said. The younger woman rolled her eyes. She couldn’t stop making tea on the counter. Haruka lowered her hands. Anna picked up the tray of tea. Her grandmother turned her right hand. She turned around with the tray. Haruka moved her hands back. Anna walked back to the couch, frowning. Her cold look burned into Haruka’s soul. Her grandma pretended not to notice. She lowered her hands.  Anna sat down and set the tray down on the coffee table.

“Thank you,” the old lady said. She picked up her cup.

“Mmm,” she murmured. Haruka looked at her granddaughter glaring at her.

“Oh yes,” she said. “Where are my manners? I almost forgot.” Haruka picked up her right index finger and moved it to the right. Anna opened her mouth and gagged.

“Why am I here?” she asked.

“Shhh,” Haruka said. Anna picked up her cup. Both women took a drink.

“Mmm,” Haruka said. “This is some good tea. Wouldn’t you agree?” Anna gave her a burning cold stare.

“I don’t get it,” she murmured. The old lady looked up.

“Hm?” she asked.

“Why am I here?” Anna asked. “What are you planning to do to me?” Haruka took another sip of her tea.

“Ah yes,” she said. “Why are you here? I have realized something.” Haruka set down her cup.

“I can’t kill you,” she said. “It’s not that I don’t want to. But you’ve gotten too powerful for me to kill. The Mother chose you. You and she have successfully merged together. I don’t understand it. She chose you. I had plenty of worthy granddaughters that the Mother could’ve merged with. But she chose you.”

“She hates you,” Anna said. “She wants this mess to end.” Haruka took another drink of tea.

“I know,” she said. “I can’t stop that.” She took another drink. “So, I am changing my tactics with you.” Haruka turned to her granddaughter. Anna glared.

“And that is?” she asked. Her lips curved into a cold smile.

“I am going to kill everyone you care about,” she said. “Your friends in California, Rihoko and daughter, your mother, her friend, Lucy, Jared, those demon friends of yours, those shinigami, your husband, and your precious little daughter.” Anna gritted her teeth.

“You will not,” she hissed. Grandma gave her a cat-like smirk.

“I want you to feel the misery of being alone,” she said. “I want to see the light drained from your body as everyone you love die away. All of the love dying and crumbling around you.” Haruka laughed as she drank her tea.

“But why kidnap me?” Anna asked. Her grandma smirked.

“What else?” she asked. “I am going to kill him.”

“You will not!” Anna snapped.

“I will try and you are going to watch,” Haruka said.

“And how will you kill him?”

“Look around you.”

The women looked around the living room. Swirls of black filled the air. A low howl floated in the sky. Haruka smiled.

“Do you hear that?” she asked. “That is the sound of my realm breaking him down. Breaking both of you down.” Haruka’s face came within inches of Anna’s. Her smirk made her face look more devilish.

“You will not win,” she hissed. Anna refused to cave into fear.

“He won’t fall for it, you know?” she said. Haruka patted her on the head.

“We’ll see about that,” she said. If her granddaughter had to hear her speak one more time…

She might not have to anymore though. Anna could feel her right pinky finger move.


Meanwhile, Tsuzuki began his walk towards the castle trap.